Home & Garden Garden Housing and Fencing Goats on a Small Farm By Lauren Arcuri Writer Swarthmore College Lauren Arcuri is a freelance writer and an experienced small farmer based in rural Vermont. our editorial process Lauren Arcuri Updated October 27, 2020 Rob Whitrow/Photodisc/Getty Images Share Twitter Pinterest Email Garden Urban Farms Planting Guides Indoor Gardening Insects Learn how to house and fence your goats on the small farm. Goats, whether raised for meat or milk, need basic protection from the elements: snow, wind, rain, heat. They also are notorious for getting out of enclosures, so you'll need some seriously tight fencing for them. Goat Shelter That said, goat shelter doesn't need to be elaborate. A hoop house can provide enough shelter for goats. And during the grazing season, trees or windbreaks, a three-sided shed, or a pole barn with just a roof may be enough for your goats. Just keeping them out of drafts is enough. If you are kidding in the winter, you will typically need a solid building for your pregnant and/or lactating does and the kids. Inside the building, you can use livestock panels to divide the space into separate pens for each group of does and kids. If you're creating goat housing, consider where you will store feed, straw or other bedding, and other goat-related equipment. Also leave space for feeders and waterers, which will keep things cleaner and prevent wasting of feed. All animals should be able to eat or drink at one time. If your goats will have access to a lot of woods, pasture, and other range areas, you will need about 15 square feet per goat indoors for sleeping space. If not, you'll need about 20 square feet per goat for sleeping space and 30 square feet for exercise (ideally, this would be outdoors). Each adult goat needs at least a four-foot by five-foot kidding pen, so consider this space in your goat shelter depending on how many does you will breed at one time. You can have different does kid at different times in the same pen if you clean and sanitize the pen between kiddings. Reyaz Limalia / Getty Images Goat Fencing Fencing is key to the safety and health of your goats, your other animals, and the integrity of your possessions! Fencing for goats needs to be secure, not just to keep them in, but to keep predators—foxes, bears, dogs, coyotes, and more—out. You will need perimeter fencing around the entire goat area or your property boundary, and then cross fencing within the goat area to keep goats separated from each other (this can be temporary or permanent). Temporary fencing. Temporary fencing is meant to keep bucks away from does and weaned kids from does. This can be poly tape or wire, electric netting, or high-tensile electric wire. If using high-tensile wire, you'll need five to seven strands of wire spaced about 6 inches apart on the bottom and a bit more for the top wires (8 to 10 inches).Permanent fencing. Permanent fencing can also be constructed of high-tensile wire, but if your goal is to keep out smaller predators like foxes, they can easily crawl under a six-inch-high wire. Woven wire fencing is a better bet for perimeter fencing. A strand of electric or barbed wire at the top will help keep goats in and more predators out. View Article Sources Belanger, Jerry and Sara Thomson Bredesen. Storey's Guide to Raising Dairy Goats, 5th Edition Breed Selection, Feeding, Fencing, Health Care, Dairying, Marketing. Storey Publishing. 2018. “Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development Proposed 2017 Meeting Schedule.” State of Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. Ekarius, Carol and Leslie J. Wyatt. The Essential Guide to Hobby Farming A How-To Manual for Crops, Livestock, and Your Business. I-5 Publishing, LLC. 2015. “Goat Housing and Facilities.” Penn State University. Zimmerman, Brent. Get Your Goat: How to Keep Happy, Healthy Goats in Your Backyard, Wherever You Live. Quarry Books. 2012. Damerow, Gail. The Backyard Homestead Guide to Raising Farm Animals. Storey Publishing. 2011. “Housing And Facilities For Meat Goats.” North Carolina State University. Zimmerman, Brent. Get Your Goat: How to Keep Happy, Healthy Goats in Your Backyard, Wherever You Live. Quarry Books. 2012. “How Goats Get Along With Other Species.” Open Sanctuary. Solaiman, Sandra G. Goat Science and Production. Wiley. 2010. “Electric Fencing for Sheep.” Oklahoma State University. “Fencing.” Langston University.